Self-serving bias is a cognitive bias in which individuals attribute their successes or positive outcomes to internal factors, such as their own abilities, efforts, or traits. At the same time, they attribute failures or negative outcomes to external factors, such as luck, situational factors, or other people's actions. This bias serves as a self-protective mechanism to maintain self-esteem and preserve a positive self-image. By attributing successes to internal factors, individuals enhance their sense of competence and control, while externalizing blame for failures helps protect their self-worth and avoid feelings of incompetence or responsibility.
Self-serving bias can manifest within online communities in various ways. When individuals achieve recognition, receive positive feedback, or experience success within the community, they may attribute it primarily to their own abilities or efforts, reinforcing their positive self-image. Conversely, when faced with criticism, negative feedback, or failures, individuals may be more likely to attribute them to external factors, such as biased moderators or unfair circumstances, in order to preserve their self-esteem and avoid taking personal responsibility. This bias can impact interactions within the community by shaping how individuals perceive and respond to feedback, criticism, or conflicts. Recognizing and mitigating self-serving bias can contribute to a more constructive and accountable online community, promoting genuine self-improvement and fostering a culture of fairness and mutual understanding.